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the film criticism aspect of cyber | by maryann johanson

new on DVD (Region 1 and Region 2): week of February 9

Out February 9 in Region 2:

Burn After Reading [buy at Amazon U.K.]. From my green light review:

Chad is one of those grand force-of-nature characters, like Chigurh, who cannot help but be at the center of something extraordinary — it just so happens that where he goes when he takes the reins is into a magnificent load of nonsense, a glorious madness that leaves you pondering the human capacity for being an enormous lunkhead, rather than into a gloomy bloodbath that makes you question the worth of humanity. But, you know, same difference, really.

(also available in Region 1, from Amazon U.S.)
Taken [buy at Amazon U.K.]. From my yellow light review:

It all moves so swiftly and so surely that you never realize how ridiculous it is at the time. It’s only after that you go, Hmmm, and note how retro its ideas about feminine “purity” are — the movie revels in taunting us with the possibility of Daddy’s Little Girl being ravished unless he can save her in time.

The House Bunny [buy at Amazon U.K.]. From my red light review:

The House Bunny appears to think it’s being “complicated” and “deep” when it has Shelley remind brainy Zeta Natalie that “boys don’t like girls who are too smart.”… But this unbelievably vapid excuse for a comedy does nothing to actually support such a contention — that Shelley is wrong about what boys like — and instead offers up these women as willing sacrificial lambs to the satan of conformity that demands they adhere to a brand of “acceptable” appearance and behavior that is so narrow that it’s all but impossible for any mere mortal to fall within it.

(also available in Region 1, from Amazon U.S.)

Then She Found Me [buy at Amazon U.K.]. I didn’t review the film, but I did see it, and gave it a green light for its realistic depiction of all kinds of love, from romantic to familial to parental.

(available to preorder in Region 1, from Amazon U.S.)

The Visitor [buy at Amazon U.K.]. I didn’t review the film, but I did see it, and gave it a green light for Richard Jenkins’ astonishing performance.

(available to preorder in Region 1, from Amazon U.S.)

Also new this week:

The Hunting Party [buy at Amazon U.K.]. Richard Gere hunts a war criminal — it’s a comedy!; my green light review. [also available in Region 1, from Amazon U.S.]

I’ve Loved You So Long [buy at Amazon U.K.]. Kristen Scott Thomas has a big secret… [available to preorder in Region 1, from Amazon U.S.]

The Wackness [buy at Amazon U.K.]. Love in the 90s. [available now in Region 1, from Amazon U.S.]

Out February 10 in Region 1:

W. [buy at Amazon U.S.]. From my green light review:

Surely this is the greatest satire of the American presidency ever made for film. It’s kinda like Being There, but far more terrifying: instead of a wise, gentle idiot becoming president, here it’s an incurious, perpetually adolescent idiot who ascends to the highest office in the land. Surely this would be a horror story if it were true — and at times it feels like it could only be true, in that truth-is-stranger-than-fiction way, it’s so preposterous — but safely ensconced in the realm of cinematic nonsense, we can breathe easy.

(available to preorder in Region 2, from Amazon U.K.)

Frozen River [buy at Amazon U.S.]. From my green/yellow/red light review:

[A] frank and unrefined tale of women doing what it takes to survive, particularly when dominant, male-centered cultures have abandoned them…. Fascinating is how Hunt’s story straddles moralities, gender motivations, and ideas of poverty and despair in such a way that you’re not sure, by the end, what’s “right” and what isn’t.

Miracle at St. Anna [buy at Amazon U.S.]. From my red light review:

If there’s a miracle to Miracle at St. Anna, it’s a rude one: it may well be that here we have a film obviously crafted with deep earnestness and profound love and serious talent… and it fails entirely, on every level, in every way that a movie can fail. It’s as if supernatural intervention were required so that no smidgen of that indefinable movie magic could be generated. We come to the end — after a long slog of 160 minutes — and we find ourselves saying, “Yes, and…?” and no answer is forthcoming. Could be this is the longest and most expensive shaggy-dog story ever told.

Also new this week:

Blindness [buy at Amazon U.S.]. Can’t see the end of the world for the apocalypse; my green light review. [available to preorder in Region 2, from Amazon U.K.]

Soul Men [buy at Amazon U.S.]. They should have called it No-town; my red light review.

Chocolate [buy at Amazon U.S.]. Bone-crunching action, and nothing else; my red light review. [now available in Region 2, from Amazon U.K.]

Simon and Simon: Season Two [buy at Amazon U.S.]. Crime and funishment in San Diego.



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